A challenging, and for seasoned trekkers, the most exciting trek in India is finally open for business! The Chadar trek connects villages in the Zanskar valley with Chilling along the frozen Zanskar River. If the idea of walking over frozen river ice with a large pack on your back and very cold rushing water a few inches below your feet is terrifying, then you are not alone. But the best way to ensure a good trek is to travel equipped. Your tour operator/ guide may have already given you a long and detailed packing list for the trek – but here are the 5 things that will matter the most to you in terms of comfort, safety and enjoyment, so play the utmost attention to these in your packing:
Backpack: Cannot emphasize the importance of a great backpack – even if you have a porter carrying it for some part of the trek. Durability, ease of access and carrying system are what you should look for in your backpack. In this regard, you cannon to better than the legendary Deuter Aircontact backpack. It provides multiple sections, front loading and a top notch system to distribute the weight of the backpack on your back. If you find it too expensive to Buy, you can consider renting it for just Rs. 160/- day from us or even Try it before you decide to Buy it.
Jacket: Expect temperatures at night to dip to -20 degrees Celsius – and it’s not the enjoyable kind of cold too. You’ll need a good quality down jacket with a hood. Try Wildcraft or Decathlon for reasonable jacket options. Bragpacker will soon launch heated jackets that are light weight, compact but provide amazing warmth – but you will have to wait for 2-3 months for it to be launched.
Boots: For this terrain, you’ll need waterproof high ankle hiking boots with proper grip, which you’ll need to wear with woolen socks. Again, Decathlon offers some reasonable options that will give you a sure-footedness on the icy hills. Hi-tech shoes are also popular and value for money.
First aid kit: Along with basics like paracetamol, antiseptics, band-aids and gauze, and pain relievers, don’t forget to add Diamox, that helps immensely while dealing with altitude sickness. While your guides may have emergency meds with them, it is best to carry the basics on you at all times (in a weatherproof pouch), incase you go for an unexpected swim!
Camera: Needless to say, in a terrain which is probably one of the most beautiful sights in the country, you must carry a high quality camera and perhaps more importantly the right set of lenses. Don’t rely on your smartphone, it just won’t give you the kind of memories that this trek deserves. The Nikon D3200 along with a wide angle lenses and tripod are a good option, but if you’re just not into serious photography, we must insist you to at least carry a high quality point and shoot like this Sony Cybershot HX90V with 30x zoom!. See our photography section for rental options at very low rates for your camera, lens, tripod and even camera bags.
You can refer to our exhaustive packing list for a Ladakh trip here, where we have gone into the details of what clothes, bags and even toiletries to carry for a more relaxed trip to the mountains.
The Chadar Trek is a once in a lifetime journey, make sure you have the right equipment to ensure it is indeed a cherished experience!